Sales + CRM basics

The way CRM can support sales is not rocket science. The basic CRM capabilities are over a 25 years long maturing period. Most CRM projects include these elements with differences in focus, depending on industry and company strategy.

The aim in sales is naturally to increase revenue or margin. CRM helps by driving focus on most relevant clients, actions and by ensuring, that sales processes – sometimes strict, often loose – are followed by sales. This combined with easy internal communication and information sharing will increase win rates.

The use of CRM practices and systems also result in higher customer satisfaction by ensuring people on the supplier side are faster and better informed. The fact that CRM automates manual activities results in higher sales productivity and lower cost of sale. In some industries the higher accuracy of forecasts is another important enabler of meeting targets. On top of all this the whole sales operation of the company becomes analyzable and can be continuously monitored and developed.

The standard basic CRM capabilities include the following.

Customer and prospect information handling.

  • Delivering existing customer information (turnover by product family, order history, unsettled invoices, unresolved claims etc.) in an easy to consume manner to salespeople
  • Collecting and sharing information about prospects and clients easily
  • Integrating with customer data providers

Nurturing and selling more to existing clients.

  • Segmentation of existing client portfolio
  • Ensuring sales people engage with clients frequently
  • Informing sales about customer spending trends on charts or about important milestones (e.g. contract renewal deadline) with email and sms alerts
  • Showing sales potential new opportunities with specific clients
  • Enabling customer satisfaction monitoring

Closing new leads – this is all about a closed loop, active process from the moment the interest is identified to the completion of the order.

  • Collecting, scoring and distributing leads
  • Managing opportunity oriented sales processes (stages and related actions)
  • Ensuring sales methodologies are followed (e.g. follow up always happens)
  • Support opportunity based CRM forecasting (bottom to top revenue forecast flow)

Sales administration.

  • Pricing
  • Creating quotes and proposals
  • Running discount approval processes
  • Creating contracts
  • Creating orders (often from quotes)
  • Monitoring delivery
  • Monitoring financial settlement (sometimes supporting collection)

Supporting sales activities.

  • Creating a communication history
  • Emailing (sometimes using templates)
  • Calling and call content logging (sometimes scripting in call centers)
  • Meeting and creating meeting memos
  • Tasks (for oneself and for colleagues)
  • Calendars (synched to non CRM calendars)
  • Notes
  • Sharing files

Informing sales.

  • Delivering content to sales (mainly documents, presentations, pdf brochures etc.)
  • Supporting internal communication with social applications, chat applications etc.

Reporting and analyzing.

  • Quota achievement tracking
  • Create reports and dashboards easily
  • Standard KPIs by CRM process like meetings and calls by sales, pipeline coverage, win rates, average discounts, average sales process durations, average deal size, revenue trends
  • Eliminate reporting time of sales by automatic monitoring instead of report creation

The above basic processes are nearly always supported by some company specific minor developments or complex add ons, such as configure price quote modules.

The magic of successful CRM is to pick the right capabilities, setting them up in an intelligent manner, add the crucial extras and most importantly have an implementation method filled with engagement of users and managers, change management, flexibility and persistence.